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Closing One Door, Opening the Window to the World

We have decided to travel the world.

Some will be completely shocked to hear this; I know I'm still feeling the waves, while others will smile and not be surprised.

Daniel (Mr. Flint) and I have ex-pat hearts and have traveled independently before we found each other in the small town of Brevard. I first ventured out into the entirety of the world while in diapers! It's in my blood, as I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia (Aramco Brat!).

After working on cruise ships as an acupuncturist for almost two years, I was so gung-ho to settle down somewhere for once, put roots in the ground, establish relationships, and start a business. I certainly did not plan on uprooting precisely five years later.

All I knew was that I wanted to have a family someday, be my own boss, travel, and live happily ever after. And I'm so proud to say I did just that. Heck, we were one golden retriever and white picket fence away from the perfect American Dream. And yet, there was always something stirring deep within.

We even toyed with the idea of moving to the Caribbean nearly two years ago. Weeks of daydreaming about living in Roatan (an island off of Honduras) and having a bed and breakfast or holistic-style rentals while spending the rest of our days on the beach soaking up paradise. Actuality came in and slapped us back to the real world. We had a newborn, and moving internationally during a pandemic did not seem feasible. We hung up our sunhats, put our rain gauge back out, and continued our daily routines.

Then, events started happening that led to our ultimate decision...

First, Daniel left the restaurant industry and became a stay-at-home dad. His stress levels dropped, and his body relaxed. I came home to a very different man. I love what I do for a living. I hated seeing my sweet husband defeated after work, so I fully encouraged early retirement. This led to me thinking of alternative sources of income so I didn't have to be away from my family for more hours during the week.

I created Pinpoint Holistic (or at least the idea of it). A place where I could stretch my writing legs and creative freedom while hopefully inspiring others to be their best selves. This also inspired me to reassess my own self-care routine. Having a child and a business full of patients caused me to put myself on the back burner, forgetting about my well-being. So how am I supposed to inspire others to take care of themselves in a busy life when I hadn't figured out how to accomplish it myself!?

So my next mission was to create a program that I could fine-tune, succeed, benefit from, and then share with others. The potential fueled the fire within me. I finally had an unlimited amount of inspiration to better myself, to become a kickass mom/wife/practitioner. I started daily yoga, focused on nutrition, and researched the crap out of different modern-day tools to feel amazing in my own body.

Daniel is now retired and untied from professional work. I'm forming a new creative outlet that ignites passion, and the housing market is peaking. So we sit down to discuss whether we should consider selling our home to downsize and profit from the fantastic real estate spike. We love our home, yet the idea of being debt free and living closer to town was hard to ignore. So we put our house up for sale. And, holy crap, things started moving fast from there.

Fast forward just a smidge, and our house is under contract. We see a profit in the near future; there's no place to live after moving out, and we now have new obstacles to consider. The idea of travel wasn't an option yet. We were the proud parents of two very crotchety senior citizen felines. Even thinking about rentals was a challenge due to price and pet requirements. Then, sadly, our oldest cat passed away (RIP Doobs). And the younger cat, who was 16 years young, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. And the original contract for our home fell through, only to be replaced with a better opportunity less than 12 hours later. We now had a closing date and a set of buyers willing to let us stay in our home until the end of September. Suddenly dates started to play a huge role.

We now had a timeline. At the end of September, we would be homeless. With a toddler and a declining kitty. Rentals, apartments, and Airbnbs were outrageously priced due to peak season. Plus, very few actually accommodated pets. Then one day, our sweet cat became very uncomfortable. She was on a slippery slope towards pain, organ failure, and incontinence. It was time to let her go with dignity (RIP Jasmine girl). So we suddenly, sadly, had no pets. And soon would have no home. And scarily, very few options were apparent. This causes parents to bust out the research and the brilliant ideas (and some not-so-good ideas too).

Let's travel. A vacation is needed, and it seems like a perfect time. So we started investigating travel ideas and possibilities, ranging from boring and very realistic to extreme and fantastical. Let's kill some time during the peak season to get out of dodge and then we can return and find a friendly two-bedroom rental. Everything is possible virtually, so we could even shop for new homes while in a paradise destination. Daniel and I agreed that we love Costa Rica; it has magic that I can hardly describe. Plus, it's not all that far away. It is unique enough that we feel thoroughly adventurous yet relaxing to be vacation-like.

Now how long do we go on vacation? We both agreed a nice long one is appropriate at this point. So we thought, one month... then I remembered my three-month visit to Costa Rica between undergrad and grad school. That was a monumental time for me. So what better way to spend a transitional period than rediscovering what Costa Rica offers?

Now, there are also several other moving parts at play here. My business lease with the best landlord I've ever had ends in October this year. If I were to renew, it would be another two-year minimum commitment. My acupuncture malpractice insurance also restarts on September first. So Daniel and I figured we'd start our vacation somewhere between September & October. Just in case, during the planning period, I blocked off my patient schedule from September first onwards. We also planned to close on our home on August second (precisely 3 years to the day of moving in), and we had to be out of the house by September thirtieth. These timelines seem to perfectly interweave.

I caught myself talking to patients a lot about travel. I had several who recently went to Europe or South America. A couple had epic adventures in Central America. A new patient just returned from a year in Thailand. And that travel bug started stirring. The wanderlust began to gain momentum inside me.

My now "retired" husband was stress-free and happy, yet I'd come home and realize he hadn't left the house in days. His adventures included bizarre toddler things and Ingles (our neighborhood grocery store). This was also no life I wanted for the man who brings me the utmost happiness. At this point, I was exhausted each day from working longer hours and creating a new digital portion of my practice.

Learning how to have an online presence is a huge endeavor for me. I'm not big on social media, and I hardly understand the idea of blogging, gaining followers or likes, or what the heck TikTok is... So I'm learning. What is my new brand? What is my goal, mission, vision, and purpose for having an online practice? What is Pinpoint Holistic? I was excited, though. Something new was happening. Something I thought I had lost or traded was coming back. I always wanted to write, flex my creative muscles, teach and educate, learn and discover.

Pinpoint Holistic was just that for me: creative development and endless opportunity. I even asked a very talented young patient to create a logo for me (back in 2021!). I described what I wanted: a woman lounging in a hammock, but the hammock was the world. I wanted to reach women or people, or moms, or others like me around the world. Little did I know, the end design was more than perfect for where we are now... traveling the world and empowering other Moms.

Then the drive home that would change our lives happened. I have twenty minutes of scenic mountain road to transition from work mode to home mode while enjoying music, podcasts, audiobooks, or my thoughts. I've often hit inspirational speed bumps on my homeward journey. This day, in particular, was absolutely peculiar. Initially, I left my office in the heart of Brevard with the sun shining, not a cloud in the sky. Then about halfway home, I drove into a metaphorical and almost literal waterfall! As if I entered Oz, life around me transformed. I could hardly see a foot in front of me. It was exhilarating! Massive raindrops plummeted onto my windshield. It turned from day to night in an instant. I had to slow down significantly and even stopped my podcast so I could concentrate. I could hardly see the road in front of me, and yet the path in life became loudly clear. What if we just traveled? The only question at that moment was, could I leave my practice? Was I ready to tug on the deepest root to stumble towards the unknown? This concept marinated. That drive home continued to get weirder. By the time I turned into my neighborhood, it was hailing. 80 degrees outside, and I was in some odd storm. I parked in my driveway and let my thoughts and dreams swirl together. Then, just as suddenly as it arrived, the storm subsided. I walked into my home in a light, dream-like atmosphere.

What if we just traveled? We could see the world. Asher's at the right age to absorb different cultures and experience the entirety of our planet. He wasn't in school yet, starting his own relationships. He also wasn't at the stage in life to have his own strong opinions about what he wanted to be doing. What a perfect time to travel.

It came down to two paths, the crossroad. Either we leave our home, have a decent vacation, then return to Brevard to start a new chapter. We would need a new home. Daniel would need to find a new job to afford our American lifestyle. I would need to renew my business lease and the certifications required. And we would continue along the familiar path. Or... we take a new direction, unknown and exciting, scary yet exhilarating, buoyant and passionate. And suddenly, the answer was clear. There was no convincing our souls to do anything but jump into the great potential.

So it is bittersweet to say that one chapter has ended, and a new one has begun. I walk the precipice between feeling wholly crazy and realizing that the only thing crazier (for us) is to stay.

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